The China Post
Date: January 23, 2017
By: The China Post news staff
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Once a year there is a free lunch, but this year, it was particularly tough getting
Guests to Taipei’s year-end charity banquet — an annual event since 1996 — passed through cops and three barricaded checkpoints this year to get to their table in front of the Presidential Office.
That’s because the banquet coincided with a highly watched and heavily secured conference on pension reform taking place inside the Presidential Office.
In anticipation of a mass protest against the conference, Taipei police set up a 2,000-strong force in the perimeter of the building, through which 150 cooks and 800 volunteers shuffled through early Sunday with 44,000 plates and 30,000 chairs. They were followed by a procession of homeless people, low-income families with small children, the elderly and the disabled, who passed through the police cordon in a slow trickle to eat.
“Maybe it should have been held somewhere else this year,” one guest said.
The organizers — The Genesis Social Welfare Foundation and its sister groups — said this year’s banquet had drawn about 30,000 people, some coming from as far as New Taipei City’s Jinshan District. [FULL STORY]